TheSilmarillionWriters'Guild

Newsletter: October 2013

Table of Contents


SWG News

Seeking Feedback on Site Etiquette and FAQ Changes: Image Policy and Multiple Accounts

We have two proposed revisions to our Site Etiquette that clarify or address issues that are not currently addressed adequately. New material in our Frequently Asked Questions accompanies each proposed change. We are soliciting feedback from SWG members and visitors on these changes. Comments will be accepted until October 15, 2013. The proposed changes, in summary, are as follows:

Setting Up an SWG Satellite on Tumblr

We have been considering setting up a “satellite group" on Tumblr to be run under the SWG guidelines as a space for the Silmarillion fandom. However, our moderators have very little experience with Tumblr. We are looking for volunteers who are interested in participating in this new venture: no particular experience necessary, just acquaintance with Tumblr to help us make the best decisions for our group's set-up there. Eventually, we will ask for moderators for the Tumblr group from those who assist us with the set-up.

Interested? Comment on our LiveJournal post or our Dreamwidth post with your email address, as well as your preference for how we hold the discussion (email, LiveJournal, Yahoo! mailing list, etc.). You can also email us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org. Discussions will begin this month.

Congratulations to Our Season of Writing Dangerously Winners!

September 23rd has come and gone and the Season of Writing Dangerously has come to an end! We want to give our deepest thanks and most heart-felt congratulations to all participants, writers, icon-makers, people who cheered and encouraged others. For those who made their goal, there are lovely winners' banners and the possibility of requesting a custom piece of art or writing. Request your Season of Writing Dangerously winner's prize here!

Welcome to Our New Members!

A warm welcome to our new members this month: HighKingFingolfin, hereff, flowinglight, StarSpray, MementoMori, and gml. We hope you enjoy the Silmarillion Writers’ Guild!

We would love to know a little about your interest in The Silmarillion; perhaps you might wish to share a few facts about your fandom persona by updating your bio. In all likelihood you have already begun to explore the archive and other sections of our sdite, but if you still have any queries, you may wish to browse our Frequently Asked Questions. If you can’t find the answer or if you need any help at any time, do not hesitate to contact us at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org.


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New at the Archive

Completed Works

A Scrap of Parchment by Uvatha the Horseman [General] (3141 words)
Summary: Sauron returns to Mordor and openly declares himself, and Umbar declares its allegiance to him. Told by Urzahil of Umbar, who later becomes the Mouth of Sauron.

Ai Elbereth by Tehta [Adult] (3106 words)
Summary: A Glorfindel/Ecthelion PWP, full of dodgy humour, neurosis, and blasphemy. This fic is a relatively plotless gap-filler set between my fics "Flawed and Fair" and "Strange Fortunes," and will probably make most sense to people familiar with these characters. Although, who knows? It probably makes as much sense as any PWP.

Ash and Water by a7s4t6r5i6s [General] (5008 words)
Summary: Nimrodel and Mithrellas as darkness grows in the shadow of the mountains. Written for the 2013 Sultry in September fic swap for Elleth.

Be more cruel, Love, and so be kind. by Agelast [Adult](12314 words)
Summary: All of Caranthir's preconceived notions are turned on their head when he finds himself falling for the most unlikely person possible -- his annoyingly perfect half-cousin, Finrod. Written for Dawn Felegund for Sultry in September 2013.

Haunted by StarSpray [Teens] (2761 words)
Summary: The journey from Gondolin to the Mouths of Sirion is long, and there are ghosts waiting for them.

In the Darkness by Independence1776 [Teens] (3534 words)
Summary: While visiting Dale five years after Smaug's death, Maglor encounters two very different groups of people: Men-- and Elves.

Leaving For Good by Friendsheyho [General] (1241 words)
Summary: Turgon, leaving for Gondolin soon, decides to make a trip to Himring to say a lukewarm goodbye to his eldest cousin, but ends up feeling more emotion than he bargained for.

Many Happy Returns by Tehta [General](6191 words)
Summary: (Or, One Flew Over the Halls of Mandos) The Silmarillion is so full of heartbreaking, wasteful, tragic deaths that it sometimes seems as if the not-tragically-deadly parts of the narrative are there only to give the readers a little breather. I expect that everyone has a death or two that they find particularly distressing. Amarië certainly does. But at least she can do something about it...

Nor Love Nor Wisdom by Elleth [Adult] (7049 words)
Summary: After an Orc incursion leaves Finrod wounded, he finds himself in close quarters with Curufin, who is pursuing an agenda of his own. A Sultry in September 2013 fic, written for ParadifeLoft.

Of Love and Duty by Silver Trails [Adult] (15822 words)
Summary: Fingon returns to Tirion after ten years of absence. Written for the SWD 2013.

Of Mithrellas by Urloth [Adult] (18372 words)
Summary: There is not much said of the Elf Maiden Mithrellas, servant of Nimrodel. That does not mean there is nothing to tell of her. A Sultry in September fic written for Rhapsody.

Show Us by Friendsheyho [General] (2179 words)
Summary: "Don't you have any curiosity?" asked Maitimo, throwing his packed saddlebag at him. "I'd have thought you, of all people, would want to come and meet the Secondborn." "Whatever for?" asked Macalaurë, pleasantly exasperated. "To write a song about it, of course."

Something Stronger by Tehta [Teens] (5833 words)
Summary: This story was written a fic swap, where I was assigned Aegnor/Glorfindel as a pairing, and asked for the following additional story elements: Friendship which grows into love, parting and reunion in Valinor, hardship on the long trek over the ice, wonderment at the discoveries in the new world of Middle Earth. I believe I have managed to include all of the above, after a fashion. I have also managed to amuse myself by giving Aegnor some unique views on controversial issues such as Kinslaying, Luthien's choice, and the Gift of Men. So: come for the meta, stay for the relationship drama!

The Eagle Silmarillion by Tehta [General] (2048 words)
Summary: An attempt to make sense of the mystery surrounding Glorfindel's reappearance in Middle-earth, presented using a rarely-seen perspective.

The Lady in the Mirror by Iavalir [Teens] (1319 words)
Summary: She felt her other half’s presence since before her first breath, and she was her most ancient friend.

The Scion of Kings by Tehta [Teens] (1300 words)
Summary: Gil-galad was the scion of kings,
Of him the flighty Tehta sings.
Tolkien seems to have found figuring out Gil-Galad's paternity particularly difficult. Who was Gil-Galad's father, really? Was it Fingon? Finrod? Orodreth? (Which Orodreth?) Cirdan? It is an interesting question, and one this fic completely fails to answer. It does, however, answer the question of who his mother was. Anyway. Warning for, um, authorial self-insertion.

The Sovereign and the Priest by Dawn Felagund [Adult] (40601 words)
Summary: Long ago in Valinor, Finrod and Celegorm faced opposing expectations, one a symbol of Eldarin potential and the other abandoned to a life of leisure, and neither fully certain of his place among the Noldor. Now, after the Dagor Bragollach, their fates collide when Celegorm and Curufin, fleeing the destruction of their realm, take harbor in Nargothrond. As both work to mend the myriad hurts between their houses, each discovers a secret about the other and, most surprising of all, the desire that grows between them. But as each of their oaths begin to call, their growing love might not survive the inevitability of their fates. Written for Urloth for Sultry in September 2013.

Unconquered by Rhapsody † [Adult] (7610 words)
Summary: Once Morwen finally arrives in Doriath to be reunited with her son, she learns that not all of her sacrifices made have been in vain. Written for Ludovica for Sultry in September 2013.

Unstrung by Tehta [General] (2547 words)
Summary: Right before the War of Wrath, Maglor explains himself.

What I Dread Befalls Me by StarSpray [Teens] (3380 words)
Summary: Elwing and the Sack of Sirion.

You do not wish to live my life by Silver Trails [Teens] (1313 words)
Summary: Maglor finds another kind of (Crossover with Highlander the Series)

Works in Progress

Almaren by Silver Trails [Adult]
Summary: The last days of Almaren
Chapters added this month: Chapter 15 and Chapter 16.

Approaching Rivendell by Winterwitch [Teens]
Summary: 100 drabbles with Elrond Half-Elven through the ages, focussing on the creation of and the living in Rivendell.
Chapters added this month: New Life and Beginnings.

Golden Days by Lyra [Teens]
Summary: Nerdanel recounts the development of her relationship with Fëanor - from the earliest days to the estrangement. Pride and Prejudice in Valinor, really, with perhaps a helping of Much Ado About Nothing.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 13.

Many Journeys by Elleth [Teens]
Summary:A gathering place for ficlets of varying length centered around the House of Fëanor (and lately, the House of Finwë in general), based on the word of the day from dictionary.com and various other prompts..
Chapters added this month: The Chosen, Small Rebellions, Freckles (or the Lack of Them), Love Like Singing, Ghost Lights, Unchanging, Candles Out.

One's Own by Urloth [General]
Summary: Fëanáro, eldest son of Míriel Þerindë and Finwë Ñoldóran, attempts to be the best brother he can be to his little siblings despite being perplexed, bothered, and bewildered by them almost constantly.
Chapters added this month: In Which Fëanáro Looses His Only Child Status., In Which There Is Finëamírë and In Which Rúmil is Rúmil And Another Baby Is Born.

Racing Towards the Start by Agelast [Teens]
Summary: Fingon and Maedhros in the bliss of Valinor.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 5.

Remembrance Is All by Agelast [Adult]
Summary: Here lies ficlets, meme responses, and things that are too short to post on their own.
Chapter added this month: Sphallolalia.

Some Futile Hope by Friendsheyho [Teens]
Summary: It is the Second Age of Middle-earth. Sauron is regrouping, the Rings are being forged, the Numenorians are beginning their descent into madness, and Glorfindel has been sent back to Middle-earth for...for what? Only time will tell, and when it does, all of Middle-earth will rise up to fight.
Chapter added this month: Part 2: Chapter 4.

Summer's End by oshun [Teens]
Summary: Burning_Nightingale requested Maedhros/Fingon among other characters. The story elements, which I am trying to provide are: "Angst or fluff (or both), either something plot-driven or character study. Optional ideas I would be interested to see include; something to do with horses, a piece of jewellery featured, something incorporating a major canon event, something about a journey in the wilderness, something about the beauty of nature, a battle or fight." This is really not a love story, although it is centered upon the relationship of Maedhros and Fingon and told from their points of view. It is more a personal exploration of the politics of the exiled Noldor in the early days of establishing their kingdoms in Middle-earth. For the Noldor, the personal is always political. There is humor, conflict, scandal, and a crazy mixture of discord and affection, which characterize the Finweans. It has plenty of self-indulgent evidence of my rather romanticized obsession with the glorious princes of the Noldor (male and female). This story is set in an amorphous, vague time frame shortly before the founding of Nevrast, before the Mereth Aderthad.
Chapters added this month: Barad Eithel, Small Vanities , A Familiar Old Song and Secrets.

The Archer's Triangle by Tehta [Teens]
Summary: Wherever Túrin goes, emotional turmoil is sure to follow. The marches of Doriath are no exception.
Chapters added this month: Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

"The House of a Friend" & other drabbles by Himring [General]
Summary: The friendship of Narvi and Celebrimbor: Narvi and Celebrimbor work on the Doors of Moria--and other scenes.
Chapters added this month: Duchesses for the Roof, Shell-like, Translucent, Shadow on the Wall and Physic and Metaphysics.

The Plunge by Fadesintothewest [Teens]
Summary: Set just prior to and in the first years of the Years of the Sun in the First Age. Fingolfin’s host has made it to Middle Earth where they encounter orcs in the Battle of Lammoth. This is the story of the consequences of that battle and the Noldor coming to terms with their new home and identities, centering on Fingon. Part of a series where I will explore the House of Fingolfin in the early years of the Years of the Sun.
Chapter added this month: Chapter 1.

To Gaze Upon Stars by Caunedhiel [General]
Summary: Before the sun and the moon, when only great powers wandered the wilds, the Eru-begotten woke. The First Born of Illuvator. In a land lit by starlight the journey of one person will help to mould the fate and doom of an entire people...
Chapter added this month: Chapter 3.

Trinkets by Independence1776 [Teens]
Summary: A collection of drabbles and ficlets too short to post on their own. Each story has a separate rating.
Chapter added this month: Family.

Short Works

Bombarded by Friendsheyho [General] (454 words)
Summary: "Why are you so sad?" Maedhros was shaken out of his reverie by a timid voice coming from around his knees. He looked down and found his legs bombarded by two wide-eyed, dark-haired boys with unbearably cute twin expressions of wonder. Maedhros looked back up.

Fallen Star, Kept in Darkness by StarSpray [Teens] (963 words)
Summary: Elwing cannot stand the sight of the Silmaril.

Nine Black Cats and One White by Narya [General] (192 words)
Summary: The musings of Beruthiel's white cat, who is more than she seems. A double drabble, rated General Audiences. Features nods to various other literary felines.

The Artistic Temperament by Tehta [General] (555 words)
Summary: Maedhros and Maglor discuss the Noldolantë. This ficlet à clef is dedicated to everyone who has ever given me beta--no, wait, to everyone who has ever had cause to identify with this version of Maedhros.

The Legacy of Love by Rhapsody [Teens] (270 words)
Summary: After having found his shelter on the isle of Balar, a messenger delivers a memory from the past.

Wayward Sister by Iavalir [General] (575 words)
Summary: An only child though she was, Idril never felt alone. She had Aredhel.

You have a life to live by Silver Trails [Adult] (705 words)
Summary: Methos helps Maglor to stop thinking about the past (Crossover with Highlander the Series)

Non-Fiction

On Writing Tolkien's Elves by oshun [General] (4753 words)
Summary: I took the opportunity of the August 2012 Non-fiction challenge at the LotR Community Live Journal to write up some very personal thoughts of my own. I spend a part of every month, trying to write a character biography for the Silmarillion Writers Guild. Those are certainly not free of opinion, but are hopefully written in a more objective and overall more scholarly tone than this one. Anyway, for your kind perusal is this piece, halfway between a rant and a whine, but filled with not only with heart, but references to the texts.


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Character of the Month Biography

Edrahil of Nargothrond

Oshun


(Any paragraphs without a footnote containing summaries of the narrative are based upon the text in The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien.")


It is that time of the year again when one is assaulted with a barrage of chilling stories of bats, werewolves, and dark magic, witches and wizardry. The Silmarillion is filled with tales of monsters and evil creatures that could disturb one’s dreams at night, but there is hardly among those tales one more unsettling and nightmarish than the story of the capture and death of Finrod Felagund and the heroic small company led by the brave Edrahil, who set out together with Beren to steal a Silmaril from the Dark Vala Melkor.

The subject of this month’s biography is one of the foremost of those loyal comrades from Nargothrond who accompanied Finrod into the heart of Morgoth’s shadowy domain. Edrahil of Nargothrond is an Elf of the First Age, mentioned only once by name in the text of The Silmarillion as edited by Christopher Tolkien. His entry in the "Index of Names" provides us with the sparsest of information:

Edrahil     Chief of the Elves of Nargothrond who accompanied Finrod and Beren on their quest, and died in the dungeons of Tol-in-Gaurhoth.1

We are given no family history or any origin or ethnicity for Edrahil. Certain things can, however, be gleaned from his behavior in the narrative.

‘I am Beren son of Barahir, friend of Felagund. Take me to the King!’2

Beren arrives at Nargothrond, with a ring and a request. This event marks the beginning of a short and tragic adventure for Edrahil. His remarks and his actions are to define him as someone close to Finrod Felagund and with authority among those who gather in that hall of Nargothrond that fateful night. If Edrahil is, as he appears, a blooded warrior and trusted councilor of his lord, then he knows that Finrod proposes an all but suicidal mission.

When their king announces he intends to fulfill an oath he owes to Beren son of Barahir son of Bëor, his stated intention divides their people. Curufin and Celegorm have been in residence at Nargothrond for some time along with a large number of their people, rendered homeless when their lands are overrun in the Dagor Bragollach (Battle of Sudden Flame).

Perhaps the demand of Thingol for a Silmaril as a bride price for his daughter awakens the sleeping Oath of Fëanor, which at points in the legendarium seems to take on a will of its own. Thus, it stirs the desires of Curufin and Celegorm to usurp the authority of the king of Nargothrond, despite their having dwelt in the caverns as model citizens up to that point.

Finrod’s oath to Barahir might have been given with the intent of one day being called upon to provide troops in a battle or skirmish that would protect the people of the House of Bëor. Nonetheless, the manner in which it must be honored fits within classical model of the inexorable tragic doom or fate beyond the control of a hero (no doubt, the effect of the Doom of the Noldor upon Finrod).

Beren presents Finrod with the ring and his request for help in what must seem to Finrod, at first consideration, an outlandish scheme: walking into Angband and taking a Silmaril from Morgoth. Edrahil doubtlessly watches his king and sees his doomed determination.

This chapter of The Silmarillion3 contains more references to enchantments and magic--dark, light, or neutral--in it than many others. In an unrelated reference to Tolkien’s use of magic in his stories, Verlyn Fleiger uses the apt expression, "literality approaches metaphor."4 This is certainly true when one considers the effects upon the populace of Nargothrond of the arguments of Celegorm and Curufin against Finrod. They almost seem to hold their listeners under an enchantment. Magic or simple horse sense? Or a little of both? The end effect is the same. The fears and practical considerations of Nargothrond as a whole override Finrod’s incandescent heroism and his resolve never to be foresworn.

Celegorm protests first against any aid to the venture of Beren to lay claim to a Silmaril. He echoes Fëanor’s Oath in Tirion, in similar language, adapted only to better suit the circumstances. The implications are obvious in The Silmarillion version, but yet more explicit below in this citation from The Grey Annals:

'Know this: thy going is vain; for could ye achieve this quest it would avail nothing. Neither thee nor this Man should we suffer to keep or to give a Silmaril of Fëanor. Against thee would come all the brethren to slay thee rather. And should Thingol gain it, then we would burn Doriath or die in the attempt. For we have sworn our Oath.'5

He makes it crystal clear how they and their brothers will be unable to peacefully leave the stone in the hands of Beren. If Beren succeeds there will be a war to retrieve it. If the quest fails, as it likely will, it will end in death for all of them and Finrod will have abandoned his kingship and the city of Nargothrond on a fool’s errand. The effect upon Celegorm’s listeners is electrifying.

Many other words he spoke, as potent as were long before in Tirion the words of his father that first inflamed the Noldor to rebellion. And after Celegorm Curufin spoke, more softly but with no less power, conjuring in the minds of the Elves a vision of war and the ruin of Nargothrond.

So great a fear did he set in their hearts that never after until the time of Túrin would any Elf of that realm go into open battle; but with stealth and ambush, with wizardry and venomed dart, they pursued all strangers, forgetting the bonds of kinship. Thus they fell from the valour and freedom of the Elves of old, and their land was darkened. And now they murmured that Finarfin’s son was not as a Vala to command them, and they turned their faces from him.6

Nargothrond thus turns from the light to darkness under the shadow of the awakening of the Oath of Fëanor. Is this dark magic fueled by the Oath or simply a non-heroic response to the circumstances? There are reasons why Nargothrond might listen to the Fëanorians. The people of Nargothrond have welcomed the Fëanorians into their stone city. The two brothers bring a great force of highly trained and well-armed warriors, as well as skilled craftsmen along with them, not to mention their women and children. They have behaved, until that point, as exemplary guests, shoring up the defenses of the fortress city and ameliorating with their presence the increasing isolation of Nargothrond.

Finrod’s proposition must seem unwise and reckless on the surface to the populace of Nargothrond, even without the magical and/or manipulative content of the not-so-veiled threats and predictions of Curufin and Celegorm. But Finrod is intractable. He allows himself to be swept up by fate, bound by honor and the oath that he has sworn to the House of Bëor.

And Felagund seeing that he was forsaken took from his head the silver crown of Nargothrond and cast it at his feet, saying: ‘Your oaths of faith to me you may break, but I must hold my bond. Yet if there be any on whom the shadow of our curse has not yet fallen, I should find at least a few to follow me, and should not go hence as a beggar that is thrust from the gates.’7

Edrahil, as the chief of those warriors, is the voice of the ten heroes, a tiny splinter of the populace, who seek to honor their sworn allegiance to Finrod. Edrahil speaks not only in The Silmarillion, but also, although unnamed, in the earlier version of his tale in The Lay of Leithian, from which large segments, according to Christopher Tolkien, are copied nearly word for word into the Quenta Silmarillion.8

Taking a stand in support of Finrod, along with only the nine other loyalists, Edrahil’s actions and words are described thusly:

Hearing these words there swiftly stood
beside him ten tried warriors good,
men of his house who had ever fought
wherever his banners had been brought.
One stooped and lifted up his crown,
and said: 'O king, to leave this town
is now our fate, but not to lose
thy rightful lordship. Thou shalt choose
one to be steward in thy stead.'
Then Felagund upon the head
of Orodreth set it: 'Brother mine,
till I return this crown is thine.'
Then Celegorm no more would stay,
and Curufin smiled and turned away.9

The words of Edrahil are, if anything, even more moving and stronger in their simplicity in The Silmarillion prose version--sensible, earnest, and authoritative:

There were ten that stood by him; and the chief of them, who was named Edrahil, stooping lifted the crown and asked that it be given to a steward until Felagund’s return. ‘For you remain my king, and theirs,’ he said, ‘whatever betide.’10

It is notable, that Finrod, without question or argument, accepts the advice of Edrahil, as though he may be accustomed to his counsel. Preparations are then made for the small party to leave Nargothrond.

But None Betrayed Their Lord11

Even the reader who does not know The Silmarillion well is filled with dread by this point in the narrative for those ten brave men, the King of Nargothrond, and Beren. Nothing good is likely to follow their leave-taking, which is even more poignant and dramatic in the verses of The Lay of Leithian.

Thus twelve alone they ventured forth
from Nargothrond, and to the North.
They turned their silent secret way,
and vanished in the fading day.
No trumpet sounds, no voice there sings,
as robed in mail of cunning rings
now blackened dark with helmets grey
and somber folks they steal away.12

Their farewells to those near and dear to them have no doubt been sad and private. There is no cheering populace to see them off, no martial music to stir their hearts. The mood of those ten faithful warriors must have been angry, yet determined, which offsets, at least temporarily, despondency.

Those ten lords and warriors led by Edrahil have already made their hardest choice: to accompany their lord, whom they revere above others, on this venture. They are convinced at the rightness of their decision to support "King Felagund the fair,"13 arguably the "the wisest of the exiled Noldor."14 He may have been brought low by the machinations of his Fëanorian cousins, but they stand by their sworn loyalty to their king.

As chief among them, it is the responsibility of Edrahil to shore up any faltering among their fellowship which may follow the fading of the first hot wave of their outrage. It is also Edrahil’s role to give practical counsel to his king. Their quest may seem impossible, but Finrod will give nothing less than his best effort. He has the model of success against impossible odds in his cousin Fingon’s rescue of Maedhros.

Edrahil is neither soft nor inexperienced. Although the texts do not say if Edrahil is a Noldorin exile like Finrod, if one assumes he is, which many do, , then he has survived the loss of innocence of their people at Alqualondë, continued on their trek despite the pronouncement of the Doom of Mandos, and crossed the ice of the Helcaraxë. Most recently, he survived the breaking of the Siege of Angband and the loss of the majority of the vast lands of Finrod and along with their closest allies in the Dagor Bragollach. The world has been inexorably closing in upon Finrod Felagund and those committed to him for a while, but neither Felagund nor Edrahil show any signs of despair.

The fellowship of twelve make their way in the direction of Angband. Now comes a great part in the spirit of Halloween and other autumnal celebrations and traditions.

On an evening of autumn Felagund and Beren set out from Nargothrond with their ten companions; and they journeyed beside Narog to his source in the Falls of Ivrin. Beneath the Shadowy Mountains they came upon a company of Orcs, and slew them all in their camp by night; and they took their gear and their weapons.

By the arts of Felagund their own forms and faces were changed into the likeness of Orcs; and thus disguised they came far upon their northward road, and ventured into the western pass, between Ered Wethrin and the highlands of Taur-nu-Fuin.15

There is something almost endearing about these fierce and handsome Noldorin warriors, especially the blond and beauteous Finrod Felagund, skulking along in their Orkish masquerade. This again raises the question of magic—of the depth of Felagund’s deep arts.

Their disguises might have hidden them from the eyes of Morgoth’s minions and lieutenants, but their behavior patterns betray them. They hurry along to an unknown destination, not stopping to report to their supposed superiors. Sauron spots them and takes them captive. And the reader is treated to another piece of Felagund’s High Elven magic. The great song battle between Finrod and Sauron, hard fought on both sides, ends with Felagund falling before Sauron’s throne. At that moment, Finrod loses control of his magic and the twelve are revealed as Elves.

Behold! they are in their own fair shape,
fairskinned, brighteyed. No longer gape
Orclike their mouths; and now they stand
betrayed into the wizard's hand.
Thus came they unhappy into woe,
to dungeons no hope nor glimmer know,
where chained in chains that eat the flesh
and woven in webs of strangling mesh
they lay forgotten, in despair.16

In despair perhaps, but Edrahil’s adamant courage does not falter. Neither he nor any of his comrades give any indication of their identity or their mission. We are never told if Edrahil was one of the earlier ones to die or even perhaps the last, save Felagund and Beren.

There in the pits of Sauron one by one the twelve companions were slain and devoured by werewolves, until at last only Beren and Felagund remained. But none had betrayed them, and Sauron could not learn the errand upon which they went. He left the Elven-king to the last, for he knew who he was, and deemed that he was the mover in whatever venture was devised. But when the wolf came to Beren, Felagund with his last strength broke his bonds, and wrestled naked-handed with the wolf and slew it, and was slain.17

The story of Edrahil is one of epic courage and loyalty, outstanding within the legendarium containing many other examples of personal strength and determination.

Addenum on Edrahil’s Name

One way of determining interesting or additional information about a character within Tolkien’s legendarium is to consider his name. In the case of Edrahil, there are no explicit remarks in the texts relating to the etymology of his name.

Quenya101, energetic Silmarillion language enthusiast and expert, active on several online venues, states that Edrahil ". . . is definitely a Sindarin name. Quenya orthography doesn’t allow such consonant cluster as ‘dr’."18

In the character biography of Edrahil on the Henneth Annûn story site, his name is speculated upon in greater detail:

In the Lay of Leithian (HoMe 3, Lays of Beleriand), none of the ten Elves who set out from Nargothrond with Beren and Felagund to try and recover a Silmaril from Morgoth's crown, are given a name. In the Quenta Silmarillion (HoMe 5, The Lost Road), one of them does get a name: Enedrion, which could be patronymic (son of Enede/ir?). In the Grey Annals (HoMe 11, War of the Jewels), probably in the version written in the 1950's, this name is changed to Edrahil. At first sight this looks Sindarin, but as it doesn't show consonant mutation - in which case it would be Edrachil - it is probably Quenya, or at least partially Quenya like the name Fëanor. That would make Edrahil an exiled Noldo from Valinor.19

And, further, upon inquiry, Elleth, a long-time fan with a well-developed interest in Tolkien’s work and languages, notes:

There are attempts at interpretations here, which I can neither confirm nor deny, though given Edrahil’s role in the story and Tolkien’s propensity for aptronymic naming I agree that the second element probably derives from -híl; follower. For the first element I’m not entirely sure, but a verb, edra- to open exists, and what looks like perhaps either a derivation via semantic shift or a homonym, edraith as a noun is attested (and its ending in -th makes me think that it’s a nominalized verb that in its verbal form I think would also be edra-): saving, e.g. in Gandalf’s cry against the werewolf attack in FotR II, naur an edraith ammen, fire be the saving of us, so perhaps Saving-Follower or something along those lines would work as interpretation, given his refusal to accept Finrod’s abdication and his role in passing the office to Orodreth.

Of course it’s also possible that Tolkien adapted the form Enedrion in form rather than meaning since that isn’t particularly uncommon a modus operandi for him either, but my knowledge of Tolkien’s text-external evolution of Sindarin doesn’t exist, so I can’t judge how plausible that idea is. . . .20

Elleth’s proposed interpretation (the possibility that Tolkien could be thinking of Saving-Follower when he constructed the name), is certainly an appealing one, and fits with naming conventions used for other characters, as she notes the use of an aptronym, which is a name chosen especially appropriate to the individual. (The best known of those names based upon personal characteristics is the mother-name or amilessë. Because, Tolkien notes ". . . the mothers of the Eldar were gifted with deep insight into their children's characters and abilities, and many had also the gift of prophetic foresight."21

It remains a plausible assumption that Edrahil is, like his king, a Noldorin exile. His courage in standing beside Finrod Felagund to the very end speaks to the character of both. Edrahil is an admirable Elf-knight, who refuses under the direst of circumstances to betray his sworn lord, whom he considers worthy of the ultimate loyalty.

Author’s Note:

The Silmarillion aficionados active on Tumblr are at least partially responsible for the existence of this biography. One encounters the name Edrahil in discussions there more often than might be expected for a character, who, although not lacking importance, is mentioned only in one instance in the texts. In addition to those footnoted herein, I would also like to thank the Elvish language specialists on Tumblr for entertaining my request for assistance in attempting to unravel the nature of the name of Edrahil.




Works Cited

  1. The Silmarillion, "Index of Names."
  2. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien."
  3. Ibid.
  4. Flieger, Verlyn, Splintered Light: Tolkien's World, Kent State UP. Kindle Edition.
  5. The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals.
  6. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien."
  7. Ibid.
  8. The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of Leithian.
  9. Ibid.
  10. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien."
  11. Ibid.
  12. The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of Leithian, Canto VII.
  13. Ibid.
  14. Tolkien’s introductory notes to the Morgoth's Ring, Athrabeth Finrod Ah Andreth.
  15. The Silmarillion, "Of Beren and Lúthien."
  16. The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of Leithian, Canto VII.
  17. The War of the Jewels, The Grey Annals, §198.
  18. Private correspondence from Quenya101, 30 September 2013.
  19. Character biography by Finch, March 6, 2003, Henneth Annun Story Archive, http://www.henneth-annun.net/stories/chapter_view.cfm?stid=1215&spordinal=5, 30 September 2013.
  20. Private correspondence from Elleth, 30 September 2013.
  21. The Peoples of Middle-Earth, The Shibboleth of Fëanor.



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Oshun (Read by Dawn Felagund)

Fëanor allows Amrod and Amras to sleep outside on a spooky autumn evening and the question of ghosts comes up. A comedy. Warnings for mature language.

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Current Challenge

Turning Point

The Silmarillion has many moments when a character stands upon a crossroad: He or she will have to make a decision. At such a turning point in your story, the character realises that the journey or actions he or she is about to embark on or take will have a profound effect on either on the character or the world around him or her. Write about that moment that will define or alter the life of your character. How will he or she reflect on what is about to change and how does she or he look back on the way things were(in good, bad, or both ways)?

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Challenges Revisited: The Nature of Fear

The month of October, for many, is a time for celebrating that which is supernatural, misunderstood, or fearful. In Tolkien's universe, people and places are often scary. From Ered Gorgoroth to characters like Sauron and Gothmog, there is plenty that is dark and spooky in Tolkien's world!

This month's challenge asks you to write a story that explores fear in some way. Whether you try to scare your readers with a horror story or show how a character perceives and reacts to fear, your goal is to gain a greater understanding of this powerful emotion through your writing.

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Quote of the Month

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

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Each month, the SWG newsletter features links to articles that our members might find interesting. Do you have something you'd like to suggest? An interesting essay or discussion going on in your journal or blog? Drop us a line at moderator@silmarillionwritersguild.org and we'll add your article, essay, or post to our next newsletter!

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"Tolkien and the Boy Who Didn’t Believe in Fairies" by John Garth

The story, based on an anecdote from “On Fairy-stories," of how Tolkien came to the conclusion that fairy tales are not only for children. Read the article by John Garth in TheOneRing.net.

Will The Silmarillion Be Made as a Film or a TV Series?

The Tolkien Estate has not sold the rights to allow film companies to grab the goldmine that would be The Silmarillion. If The Hobbit has been the source of three movies, The Silmarillion would equal…? But even if they did, would it be feasible? Would Peter Jackson like to direct another series of movies based on the source of our fandom? Or would it work better as a TV series, like Game of Thrones? Several recent articles tackle the matter: Nerdalicious,TheOneRing.net, and GeekNewsNetwork. Is there smoke without fire?

Did a Cursed Gold Ring Inspire Tolkien's Lord of the Rings?

Yet another claim about an artefact that inspired the events of The Lord of the Rings, this time, a cursed gold ring found in Gloucestershire. Watch the video on the BBC website.

"Have You Been to Valinor Lately?" by Michael Martinez

So what exactly is this paradise of the immortal Elves, banned to Men, where the Valar dwelled after their earlier home was destroyed by Melkor? Is it the source of immortality? Is it the unreachable realm of Faery? This article looks at several works of Tolkien to explore the myth of Valinor.

Announcements

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We offer our congratulations to all of the nominees and winners of the 2013 Tree and Flower Awards! The full list of Tree and Flower winners is available here.

Teitho: October Challenge--Smile

Smile! It is not only healthy, raises your mood, lowers the blood pressure and releases endorphins, it is also Teitho’s October topic!

Your story should not only feature someone smiling, but have this smile as one of its key elements. What difference in a story can make a little smile in the right place? It can be anyone's smile, not only Aragorn's or Legolas'. What would Aragorn do for Arwen's smile? Or maybe Legolas for the smile of his father?

The deadline for this challenge is October 25th. The Teitho website has more information as well as the full rules for this challenge.




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